1987; the year we began
When I began this task of website conversion from hand coded pages into contemporary WordPress format it struck me just how far on the industry has come from the first iteration of the Island-Publishing business. Back in those days I had been using computers since 1981 and extremely primitive models they had been too. Then came the IBM PC revolution, and in due course I obtained an Amstrad IBM clone.
Although I had been published as a writer before this it was with an Amstrad that I can say Island Publishing began, initially producing simple ribbon banners for a few local clubs and together with, what now seem very primitive, newsletters printed on dot-matrix printers for photo-copying. That all seems so primitive looking back but was a big advancement over spirit duplicators and typed stencils.
When I started the modern internet was way in the future, networking was carrying a disk from one unit to another! The printing press had evolved from impress type machines like that above to more modern off-set litho’ processes but the thought that in the not too distant future we would have quality laser printing available to everyone was the stuff of science fiction.
Desk-top publishing began the revolution that has, today, encompassed the e-book and self-publishing. All ideas undreamt of back in 1987. My late father had taught traditional printing, fine-art and illustration; I like to think he approves, even though the gear he used is now almost all scrapped or only existing as museum pieces. Absolute quality in writing and printing may have declined but we have gained from the low-cost availability of the published word.
The key of course as a consumer is to seek out the material that suits you, we may be swamped via social media, e-books of varying quality and citizen journalism, but it isn’t all froth and there is still good stuff out there if you care to seek it out.
However, those primitive beginnings do mean that next year we will be celebrating Island Publishing’s 3oth year!
This site is being converted, not only because the upgrade is long overdue, but also as a test-bed for updating The Stephenson Locomotive Society‘s web-site too. As it is a pioneer project for me there is a learning curve, there will inevitably be conversion changes and issues arising and being overcome as I go. For these changes I apologise in advance, however, I think the end product will be worth it.